Egyptian protesters take part in a demonstration at Cairo's Tahrir Square as massive tides of protesters flooded Cairo for the biggest outpouring of anger yet in their relentless drive to oust President Hosni Mubarak's regime.
Egyptian protesters take part in a demonstration at Cairo's Tahrir Square as massive tides of protesters flooded Cairo for the biggest outpouring of anger yet in their relentless drive to oust President Hosni Mubarak's regime. - 
Listen To The Story
Marketplace

Steve Chiotakis: With all the debt ceiling drama going on in the U.S. we figured we'd take you somewhere else for a moment. Not Greece, or Portugal, or Ireland, but Egypt. Six months after a popular revolution overthrew its dictator, the country has been selling its debt as a way to avert a crisis there.

Reporter Julia Simon's on the line from Cairo with the latest on that. Hi, Julia.

Julia Simon: Good morning.

Chiotakis: So what's the current Egyptian government doing to deal with its debt?

Simon: Well this whole week the National Bank of Egypt's selling domestic treasury bills and bonds: so far a billion dollars worth of t-bills and half a billion dollars worth of t-bonds. This is the first time since the revolution that the government's been selling bonds. With all the uncertainties in this transition the current government just needs to figure out how to get through the fiscal year.

Chiotakis: How bad is the Egyptian debt situation, Julia?

Simon: Foreign and domestic debt in Egypt is certainly a growing problem, but the primary concern's the significant budget deficit. Interesting thing though is, last month they actually turned down a $3 billion loan from the IMF. And yet they have recently accepted some support from Gulf countries and debt forgiveness from the U.S.

Chiotakis: We're hearing of big protests again in Tahrir Square today. How's the political situation affecting the Egyptian economy?

Simon: This week the finance minister announced that foreign direct investment fell about 75 percent in the first quarter as compared to last year. Everything's still very unpredictable here.

Chiotakis: Reporter Julia Simon in Cairo. Julia, thank you.

Simon:Thank you.

“I think the best compliment I can give is not to say how much your programs have taught me (a ton), but how much Marketplace has motivated me to go out and teach myself.” – Michael in Arlington, VA

As a nonprofit news organization, what matters to us is the same thing that matters to you: being a source for trustworthy, independent news that makes people smarter about business and the economy. So if Marketplace has helped you understand the economy better, make more informed financial decisions or just encouraged you to think differently, we’re asking you to give a little something back.

Become a Marketplace Investor today – in whatever amount is right for you – and keep public service journalism strong. We’re grateful for your support.